Make it Stop!
Writer: Joe Kelly
Artist: Chris Bachalo
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 14, 2021
I was not a fan of the first issue of Non-Stop Spider-Man, but I came into this issue hoping Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo could win me over. The concept (gimmick?) is cool enough, having the story and art coming at you at a pace that doesn’t allow a moment to catch your breathe, but unfortunatley, that doesn’t leave enough room for the story. At least it didn’t work in the first issue. So, was this issue any better? Let’s find out…
The issue opens with Peter at Kel’s bedside, and I don’t know if we are supposed to get the feels here, but I don’t have any clue about Kel except for a couple of panels from the last issue. That’s the problem with the “non-stop” concept for me. Joe Kelly hasn’t set up anything to make me care one bit.
Of course, Kel got her hands on the A-Plus drug, and while Spidey saved her life, she’s not well. Luckily we got Peter Parker, MD, to tell us that she only has minor brain damage as if she has just won a brand new car! Nora Winters shows up and, after marathoning Grey’s Anatomy, fills in some medical blanks as well! She isn’t a doctor; she just watches one of the television.
I want to step aside for a minute to talk about the dialogue in this series. Joe Kelly is an older man who seems desperate to talk like the teens. Like most people who try this, it fails miserably. His pop culture references, like Jackass, are past due, and when he has Peter use terms like “fam,” it is cringy. Also, if you are going to reference Grey’s Anatomy, at least spell it right next time!
We do get little tidbits of information, and when Norah, seemingly out of nowhere, brings up her friend Tanya, we are told that the A-Plus drug is targeting POCs… though we haven’t seen that in the two issues, and it feels so forced here. It feels even more forced when the Zapata Brothers show up in their Luchador masks, and Spidey wonders why they would target certain people when they “are Mexicans.”
I know many people like Chris Bachalo’s art, and there are times in this issue when I can see why. Unfortunatley, there are also times where everything on the page looks like an utter mess, and I can’t follow what is going on. I blame the “non-stop” part of it all for that as well.
The issue draws to a close with Norah and Spider-Man figuring out that the A-Plus drug has made the Zapata Brothers smarter as they run away from the Bro’s Monster Truck in the sewer. Then we get a cliffhanger with Baron Zemo slicing and dicing and looking at the A-Plus drug up close and personal. Okay…
This issue is a mess! Joe Kelly tries to explain things, but the explanations either go against something we’ve already seen or don’t make any sense at all. If the drug targets POCs, why didn’t we deal with a POC taking it from the beginning? Why did we start at a funeral for a dead, white kid? The POC stuff comes in so randomly with a selfie on Norah’s phone in this issue. Also, how is it “targeting” them? Everyone that we saw taking it did so willingly, it seems. Characters know things for the sake of moving on quickly, and nothing is investigated or discussed. That is not a good way to set up an intriguing mystery. Joe Kelly is trying to do too many things here and failing miserably at every one of them!
Non-Stop Spider-Man promised a fast-paced mystery but instead felt like the book has ADHD. Joe Kelly hasn’t set up anything correctly, which leaves the reader feeling disconnected and confused. Chris Bachalo does his best, but the “non-stop” nature of the book isn’t doing him any favors either. There’s still time to get better, but I don’t have much faith after two subpar issues.